Retirement. It's a funny thing. Some retire too early (Barry Sanders). Some retire too late...

Kingdom Come Album Review

Retirement. It's a funny thing. Some retire too early (Barry Sanders). Some retire too late (Jerry Rice). Then, there are those who decide to retire and eventually realize they parted ways with their career prematurely. Michael Jordan famously left the game of basketball in 1993 after three championships with the Chicago Bulls, only to return to the court in 1994 and eventually lead the team to another set of three championships. Jordan again retired in 1998 in what seemed like the end of his career, and more importantly a perfect time to bow out. Admitting that boredom had set in [along with an underlying love for the game,] Jordan once again came out of retirement after two years and played two additional seasons with the Washington Wizards. The move sparked a highly contested debate of, "Should he have stayed retired?"

The comeback album, Kingdom Come, is one part flash and two parts maturity. A brief glace at the track listing and it becomes clear where the direction of the album is headed before it’s even heard. Gone are the collaborations with fellow label mates Memphis Bleek and Beanie Sigel, and the star studded a-list appearances from DMX or Eminem. Instead, we see an R&B heavy guest list that features girlfriend Beyonce, John Legend, and Def Jam artists Ne-Yo, Chrissette Michelle and Sterling Simms. (Can anyone say cross promotion?) Kingdom Come is about a more sophisticated sound; complacent in its formula and not a bit of risk anywhere in sight.

The production is solid from Just Blaze, Kanye West, and Coldplay’s Chris Martin, but can’t be said for the input from the Doc. Jay-Z has said that timing wouldn’t allow Dr. Dre to do more work on the album and it’s a good thing he didn’t. The lone Dre bright spot is on the second single, Lost Ones, in which Jay spits about his fall out with former partner Dame Dash, his relationship with Beyonce and his transition forward in life.

The standout track on the album is the Hurricane Katrina influenced, Minority Report. The lyrics are sharp and the sound bites from network news coverage are chilling. The disappointment sets in though when the song concludes after only a small poetic offering. Jay spits one [long] verse and we are left listening to Ne-Yo sing the remaining two minutes of the song, but really wanting to hear more from Hov.

Michael Jordan was to the NBA community what Sean "Jay-Z" Carter is to the Hip-Hop community: Its most marketable talent. As an ambassador of any 'game,' there will forever exist an ultimate portrait of talent mixed with success. As Hip-Hop's most undeniable ambassador, Jay-Z is doing his best Jordan impression. What has the hair on the collective arms of many standing straight up is whether Jay's comeback will resemble Jordan's first (with continued success) or his second (an unfortunate dive toward failure). It is safe to say Kingdom Come has fallen somewhere in-between the two ends of the spectrum; or maybe better yet, as a fifty point performance. Except this time around the game ending shot rattles out.

DJBooth Rating - 3 Spins

Written by
Posted 9 years ago

Sample Text - Sample Link

More from Jay Z

Our Favorite Music Videos of 2015

New Features